The Pastor who married my husband and me required us to take a premarital class before saying, "I do." The class served to enlighten us doe-eyed lovebirds about the realities of marriage. He wasn't kidding - marriage is great, but it really is a lot of work. The class covered common "issues" like money and family, but one topic that was emphasized during this crash-course in marriage was appreciation. Life gets so busy at times that it's easy to forget to appreciate [and express that appreciation for] one another.
Yesterday was Father's Day, and I had nothing but a deep appreciation for my husband and father of our three amazing girls. I know that Father's Day was yesterday, but this week [and always], I want my husband to know:
For those of you in a relationship, remember to appreciate and also feel appreciated! Mark, I appreciate you - more than I show and say
I love to cook and entertain, but now that I'm a working mother, entertaining means cooking something that's 1. easy (this is key!) 2. presentable (because I want to impress my guests and make them believe I have it all together) and 3. delicious (this is an obvious one, but sometimes the most challenging). This is the "go-to" prime rib I make for occasions like Christmas eve, my mother-in-law's birthday, etc. With this "fancy" prime rib as the centerpiece of the meal, you can pair it with easy sides like, roasted asparagus/brussel sprouts, a simple salad, baked potatoes and/or dinner rolls. Enjoy and happy entertaining (busy mom/dad-style).
1 (3-rib) prime rib beef roast, about 6 pounds
1/2 cup prepared horseradish
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a small bowl mash together the horseradish, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil to make a paste. Smear the paste generously over the entire roast and drizzle with some extra oil. Place the roast, rib side down, in a roasting pan. Roast for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for medium rare (they say to cook approximately 20 minutes per pound for medium-rare). Remove to a carving board, cover it with foil, and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before serving.
How is it that my baby is 100 days old? They weren’t kidding when they said, “Third time’s a charm.” With my first two children getting to the 100-day-mark felt eternal thanks to baby blues, sleep deprivation, around-the-clock nursing, and simply not knowing if I was doing anything correctly. With my third [and last] baby girl, I am reveling in every moment, even though the exhaustion is indescribable and life feels like a blur.
So what’s with the 100 days? My husband was born here in America, and I was born in Brazil, but we are of Korean descent. We both come from immigrant families who now live very “American” lives, but have held onto some Korean traditions, one of which is the 100-day celebration known as a child’s Baek-Il. It is essentially a 100th-day birthday party. Historically, the survival rate of a baby before the first 100 days was low, but the rate would drastically increase after the first 100 days. So on the child’s 100th day of life, we celebrate her health.
On your 100th day of life, we are hosting a luncheon in honor of you and your health. Your extended family will be here as a symbol of their love for you and their commitment to supporting you as families so graciously do. Today, I just want you to know that I am absolutely obsessed with all things Zoe: your smell, your porcelain skin, your dramatic wails, your ability to suck both your right and left thumbs, your wild hair, your heartwarming smile, your awful-smelling poops, and your manly burps.
I feel so blessed to be your mother, and I hope that this day brings a lifetime of love, health, and joy.
I cannot believe Mother's Day is here. In honor of the fabulous day, I am compelled to write about how my mother and mother-in-law have recently reminded me why mothers are so amazing.
When I had my first daughter, I was overwhelmed by my mothers. Though everything was done out of love for this first grandchild [on both sides], my mother and mother-in-law may have single-handedly been the reason I had post-partum depression. My mother stayed with me for a couple months after I had the baby, and while her homemade meals and extra hand were a Godsend, the suggestions, questions, nagging, etc. were too much for my emotionally unstable self. Although I needed the help, we fought a lot and got very snappy with one another. My mother-in-law visited everyday for hours on end and would often wake the baby to "play" with her. The most invasive moment for me was when she kissed my baby's head while I was breastfeeding. My first-born was only weeks old, and I was begging my husband to move out of state.
While thinking about that time still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I do think I was much more sensitive as a first-time mom. I had this perfect vision of motherhood: I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it all and be a great mom, and my mothers were raining on my parade. They wouldn't leave me or the baby alone and the unsolicited advice drove me insane. By the time baby #2 came around, I was much more grateful for the help and more mentally prepared for the chaos of having a newborn around.
With the arrival of baby #3, I knew I was going to welcome any help I could get. Soon after the baby arrived and I fell more and more ill with my skin condition, my mother and mother-in-law literally came to my rescue, and I couldn't be more grateful. For the first time in my life I have had to let go of control and trust that my moms were going to help me through this difficult time. This is no easy feat for a control-freak, type A personality like myself.
Being a good mother/parent, I'm realizing, is a perfect balance of selflessness and selfishness. Watching my mother and mother-in-law step in and do everything and anything possible to help me and my family through this difficult time has been both humbling and touching. There is no greater love than this. Their selflessness is unparalleled. Through this ordeal, I have also learned how important it is to be selfish - I need to do whatever it takes to take care of my health so that I can care for my own little ones and follow in the footsteps of my mothers by being there for my family through thick and thin.
Cheers to all you moms out there. Remember to take time for yourselves this mother's day, and may you be spoiled rotten!
I'm not one to share every video I come across on Facebook or even find much enjoyment in all the "viral" videos my dear husband likes to show me, but today I came across a video that really spoke to me. Although it's essentially a cheesy Dove commercial, Real Beauty, has an amazing message.
As I mentioned in my "Eczema" post several weeks ago, I have been struggling with trying to heal my out-of-control eczema. Things have taken a turn for the worse recently, and it's been quite debilitating and frustrating. However, seeing this video today reminded me to stay strong and tell myself, "You are more beautiful than you think [and feel]".
On a larger scale, it was a good reminder to instill a positive self-image in my three children. How one accomplishes that, I have no idea, but I have to believe it starts simply with love. Love your little ones for the individuals they are, and express love in every little thing you do. To see the Real Beauty video, click here.
Last week I was in a bit of a panic. The girls' spring break was fast-approaching, which meant they would be home all day for a whole week. How was I going to juggle entertaining them, dealing with my crazy skin issues, tending to the new baby, and working on Lollacup? Instead, I decided to pack up the family and visit my parents, because it would be a much-needed change of scenery.
I’m sure many of you know that packing for a family of five is no easy feat. When the car was packed, there wasn’t an inch of empty space, and I consider myself a light packer. Luckily my two older girls are at an age where they don’t need much, as long as they have one another. This is the beauty of siblings. Most of the “essentials” revolved around the baby. Because she was only 6-weeks-old, she, too, didn’t need much: clothing, swaddles, diapers, wipes, formula, burp cloths, and a place to sleep.
Now the reason for this blog post. . . I didn’t think I was going to have another child, so I gave away most of my baby gear. I was, however, fortunate enough to receive a Lotus Everywhere Crib as a gift, so we took it with us on this trip, and it was awesome. There’s no assembly involved, it essentially pops open and collapses closed, and it packs neatly into its own little travel bag! We had it set up the whole time in the house for sleeping & “playtime” and we were able to quickly collapse it down and take it down to the pool as well. This being said, we’ve partnered with the makers of the very cool Lotus Everywhere Crib to do an exciting “baby essentials” giveaway. Click here to enter the giveaway. Good luck and have a great week!
Sensitive Skin, Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis – Apparently, I’ve had it all since the day I was born. I’ve struggled with dry, itchy skin, rashes, and redness my whole life, but six weeks ago, before I had my 3rd daughter, my eczema flared up like never before. My face and most of my body were red and blistery and unbearably itchy and dry. After I had the baby, Mark Cuban invited us to do an appearance with him on The View, so for vanity reasons, I called my dermatologist, who gave me a potent steroid cream to use for 3 days only. My skin cleared up almost instantaneously, just in time to look eczema-free on the show. I stopped using the steroid cream the morning of the taping, and twelve hours later, my eczema went into overdrive. I had never seen my skin look that bad.
To make a long story, short, I'm convinced my skin is addicted to topical steroid creams. I used them on and off throughout my life when my eczema would flare, but who knew you could become addicted to skin creams? I am under the care of a dermatologist, who says the only remedy is to "withdraw" from the steroids. The upside is that he says by withdrawing or stopping the use of all steroid creams, steroid injections, and oral steroids, I will be completely cured of eczema. The downside is that I will look like a burn victim and have intense eczema flares for at least 6 months to as long as 2 years!!! Since one's skin is the largest organ of the body, it may take a long time to recover from this “addiction.” Another thing that makes it difficult is that I need to stay out of the sun and keep my body cool for the time being. This should be quite a feat considering I live in Southern California!
I have consulted many dermatologists over the years and thought long and hard about what to do about my persistent eczema, and I’ve decided that going through this God-awful withdrawal is my only option. Right now, I look like I have 3rd degree burns all over my face and body, and it goes through a different phase daily - red, oozing, burning, extremely dry, etc. Everyday is so unpredictable. I go between getting chills and sweating profusely and it's uncomfortable to wear clothes, so I have not left my house except to see doctors. Thankfully, Lollacup headquarters is in my home, so I am able to work and I have a precious newborn to love and care for, so that has been my saving grace. It is going to be a long year, but I'm hopeful that this doctor is right and my eczema will be gone after the whole withdrawal process is said and done.
I know that this is just temporary, and I am so very thankful that I am healthy otherwise, but I feel compelled to write about my condition to alert those of you with eczema or children with eczema to be very cautious of steroid use. I am not an expert or a physician, so I’m not saying that all steroids are bad, but I think it’s important to know that one’s skin can become addicted to topical steroids and the side effects of these creams are quite scary.
FYI, this is the non-profit organization (itsan.org) that is trying to get the word out about topical steroid addiction. It wasn't until I stumbled upon this website that I realized what was happening to me.
Our episode of Shark Tank is re-airing tonight on ABC at 8 p.m., so I thought I would take a stroll down memory lane.
Although our actual segment on Shark Tank only lasted 10+ minutes, we stood negotiating in front of the sharks for well over an hour. It was an incredibly stressful yet exhilarating experience. How often does one have an idea, turn it into a product, and then pitch the business to moguls like the "sharks"!
Things I never want to forget:
Things I'd like to forget:
Overall, our experience on Shark Tank has been like the gift that keeps on giving. Now that it's been about a year since we first appeared on Shark Tank, people often ask us, "Was it worth it?" and "Would you do it again?" Absolutely! One thing I learned about entrepreneurship is that you have to seize every opportunity, and not take luck and timing for granted.
I received a mass email a while ago that was both puzzling and intriguing. I had heard of people doing various things with their placentas after birth, but I didn't realize there was an official term for the practice of eating a placenta. Dr. Michele Brown of Beaute de Maman wrote a very thorough blog post about the practice that I thought I would share. I am due to give birth in a few weeks, and this pregnancy has been rough on me in many ways, but I think I'll probably be leaving my placenta at the hospital. Have any of you ever "consumed" your placenta? If so, what were the benefits?
"No sooner had I written my blog last week on the Placenta—Time Machine of the Future, when a patient of mine went into labor and asked if she could keep her placenta after the delivery. When the shocked look disappeared from my face, I asked for the reasons behind this request. In 35 years of practicing obstetrics, I had never before heard this request from a patient. After the overwhelming jubilation of delivering a new life, the delivery of the placenta often passes completely unnoticed.
My patient’s surprising response was that she wanted to make placenta capsules postpartum for ingestion. I was then told that there are groups of birthing mothers who believe that ingesting their placentas after delivery will reduce postpartum depression, give quicker pain relief, allow for a speedier recovery and also increase milk supply.
My impulse was to then research to see if there was any known medical basis for this theory, as most people, admittedly including myself, equated human placentophagy with cannibalism. Is there truth to these theories or is it simply without basis. After all, both infant and mother usually discarded this unappealing hunk of beefy looking material after its attachment was severed from the baby, since it serves no further use to the life and wellbeing of either mother or baby after birth.
Rituals involving the placenta have existed throughout history and varied broadly from culture to culture. The symbol of the medical profession, the caduceus, is the wand of Hippocrates with two snakes entwined which is derived from the triple vesseled umbilical cord. In ancient lore, rituals for preserving the placenta were created to protect the baby and the mother throughout their lifetimes because it was thought that there was an enduring spiritual connection between mother and baby embodied in the placenta. By those subscribing to the belief, it is felt that interfering with these rituals can have lasting, permanent negative effects. Severing the cord—in some cultures, does not end the connection that exists between the placenta and child. The afterbirth, felt to have supernatural powers, is thought to have capacity to influence or determine the whole life story of the child and was thought to be joined forever to the fate of the infant with whom it shared the maternal womb. Appropriate treatment of the placenta after birth was thought to lead to future luck, skill and even the owner’s prosperity.
Placental reverence was observed as far back as Egyptian times. The royal placenta was carried in procession before the king with pole bearer having the organ and cord dangling from above. The kings’ health and destiny were linked to this “bundle of life.” This bundle accompanied the Pharaoh at state and religious ceremonies. This custom continued from as early as 3000 BC to 200BC. Placentas were actually buried in separate duplicate individual tombs!! This is quite different from treatment of the placenta today, where it is thrown in bio hazardous medical waste or sent to pathology for later medical disposal.
Today, individuals raised in rural settings throughout the world still maintain some of the traditional practices regarding disposal of the placenta due to the belief that this will protect the mother and the infant from harm.
In Cambodia, reports of burying the placenta in the right location and position protect the soul of the baby for its lifetime. The place of burial has to be protected from evil spirits by placing a spiked plant over it. Costa Rican midwives will wrap the newborn placenta in paper and bury in a dry hole covered with burned ashes. This protects the mother from cramps, infection and retained blood clots. Burying the placenta in a shady spot can prevent “puerperal fever.” In Turkey, the placenta is wrapped in a clean cloth and buried. If the family wants the child to be a priest, the burial site must be near a mosque. If the parents want the child to be well educated, the placenta is buried in a schoolyard. The placenta becomes a link between the child, the spirits, and the land. Some tribes believe that the placenta continues to be the “nourishing mother of the child” and the placenta is clothed in infant clothes after birth. Other cultures consider the placenta to be a brother or sister of the newborn and it is wrapped in white cotton preserved in a pot, “fed for several days” and later buried and permanently marked with palm trees. A child’s destiny is linked to the welfare of the palm tree. Children are safe as long as they do not stray too far from where their placentas are buried. Segments of the umbilical cord have been preserved as protective amulets or good luck charms in some cultures. Descriptions of the cord being boiled and the broth being used as a medicine for sick children, snake bites and eye troubles have been described.
Placentas are not always treated with reverence. Some Indian cultures “kill” the placenta after birth. The placenta is stabbed by the mother after birth or burned publicly to prevent evil fairies or vampires from attacking the newborn. Placentas have been thrown in rivers to avoid unfavorable influences which the placenta may have on the life of the individual. In other cultures, as in Java, the placenta is placed on a small raft surrounded by fruit and flowers and surrounded by oil lamps. It is then floated down the river as an offering to crocodiles and the evil spirits whose souls inhabit crocodiles. Some Peruvian cultures believe that the placenta has to be buried very deep under a cemetery gate since it possesses the potential to harm the community.
Eating the placenta is also an accepted ritual in certain cultures. Historically, eating placentas have been associated with curing infertility, hastening labor, aiding in lactation, preventing afterpains, removing birthmarks and scars, curing epilepsy and as a form of birth control. Many carnivorous animals, with the exception of man, eat the afterbirth. Animals do this to aid survival since it prevents other predatory animals from being aware that a weakened mother and a newly born animal are in the vicinity. In the Jewish Talmud, the placenta is considered a remedy to aid a child who is too thin or has difficulty breathing. Reports of Vietnamese minority groups of Chinese and Thai origin that live in protein poor mountainous areas eat pan fried placenta sautéed with onions. In some Peruvian cultures, burning the placenta and mixing the ashes with water to drink is thought to promote fertility, as a remedy for childhood ailments and to relieve prolonged and difficult labor.
Extensive research and literature searches that I conducted revealed no articles reporting a scientific basis for the claimed healthful benefits of consuming placenta. The process of steaming, baking, and dehydrating will probably destroy most of the nutritional and hormonal content that is believed to cure women from postpartum problems. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has had no comment regarding this practice. However, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in England stated that there is no need to consume placenta when people are already well nourished, as opposed to animals which might benefit from the additional nutrition that the placenta would provide. On questioning my patient, who is now 3 weeks postpartum, on her experience of ingesting capsules, she replied that she felt much better and had her energy level restored within a few days after taking her placenta pills. She is a licensed clinical social worker and is familiar with seeing postpartum depression in some of her clients. By taking the placenta pills, she felt she was able to prevent this from occurring. She also reported no adverse side effects.
In conclusion, psychiatrists believe that placenta disposal rituals were created as anxiety releasing mechanisms that provided the new mother with a feeling of control over the future health and welfare of her child and herself. Today it is acceptable to find placental extracts in skin and moisturizing creams, shampoos, hair conditioners and face creams. The placenta contains concentrated levels of hormones, stem cells, immune factors and nutrients, which are believed by many women to enhance beauty products. These products are often containing some elements of bovine placental tissue."
My daughters' school was closed on Monday in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I decided to take the morning off and do something with my daughters. I figured the usual kids' spots around town would be crowded, so I took them to the Los Angeles Flower District. If you've never been to a flower mart/district, it's a wholesale flower market. This is the place your florist buys his/her flowers, so you can imagine the size of the place and selection of flowers. The place is open to the public during certain hours for a $2 admission fee.
I only go to the flower district when I am hosting a baby shower or need to buy a large amount of flowers for an event, so I was excited to take my daughters, walk around, and just take in the beautiful colors and smells. The girls smelled the flowers, commented on the ones they liked, and we walked away with some pink gerbera daisies, an orchid, and a mini kalanchoe. It was such a fun, easy outing that I felt obliged to write about it. I know we are all scattered around the globe, but do any of you have fun, kid-friendly outing ideas you can share?